Is It Legal To Carry A Knife In Public? [in Australia]

October 24, 2016 2 min read

1 Comment

The Briefing Room - Tactical Gear Blog Is It Legal To Carry A Knife In Public? [in Australia] Tactical Gear Police Military News Articles Australia

I once carried around a fruit knife for a week in my backpack. I had completely forgotten about it after bringing it to work because all the blades in the office were blunt. I didn’t think much of it back then but was it legal for me to carry the knife around in public? Let's find out.

Australia's gun laws are exceptionally tough. People who own firearms need to get a licence for it and the sale of guns is highly regulated. As a result, gun violence is relatively low in Australia.

Knife murders, on the other hand, has seen a steady increase in recent years. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology:

"There has been a pronounced change in the type of weapons used in homicide since monitoring began. Firearm use has declined by more than half since 1989-90 as a proportion of homicide methods, and there has been an upward trend in the use of knives and sharp instruments, which in 2006-07 accounted for nearly half of all homicide victims."

The use of knives in homicide has dipped a bit in recent years but is still one of the most commonly used weapon.

Stricter gun laws has been attributed to the drop in gun violence in Australia. So do we have any laws that restrict the possession of knives in public?

In NSW, under the Summary of Offences Act 1988, Section 11C:

"A person must not, without reasonable excuse (proof of which lies on the person), have in his or her custody a knife in a public place or a school."

A 'knife' includes a knife blade, a razor blade and any other blade. The maximum penalty for this offence is 20 penalty units or two years in prison, or both. A "reasonable excuse" may be that you need the knife for work, for preparation of food in a public area, for recreational and entertainment purposes or for religious purposes. It is illegal to sell a knife to a person under the age of 16.

This law doesn't apply to knives that are considered prohibited weapons (for example, butterfly knives) which are illegal to own or carry at any point in time.

The same goes for Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia, which share the same restrictions on carrying knives. Tasmania changed its laws a few years ago to align with all the other states, except Western Australia, on this issue.

Western Australia have its own weapons laws, under Weapons Regulations 1999, which details different scenarios where carrying various controlled weapons in public would be acceptable. A knife is considered a controlled weapon.

So if you're carrying a knife with you for whatever reason, you better have a good excuse for it.


Article Author and Credit
Author: Spandas Lui

Comment Below
What is your experience? Freely discus below.

Tactical Gear Supplier Australia
Tactical Gear Supplier Australia

Tactical Gear Australia supply Government Agencies and Customers in Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia and the Pacific Islands with Specialised products and equipment for Police, Border Agencies, Security and Military operations. Our Government Solutions include Riot Control Equipment, Less Than Lethal, Body Armour, Crime Scene Investigation and Evidence Collection products, Uniforms, Clothing and Apparel and operational equipment and products.

1 Response

Yosamite Sam
Yosamite Sam

April 19, 2019

Before the law changed I always carried a multitool with knife blade. It helped a lot of people over 50 plus years, doing everything from fixing kids boots to ladies windscreen wipers, but no more. I now carry a RESQME seat belt cutter / window breaker. The blade is guarded to a few millimetres, so it can’t be used as a weapon. It cuts seatbelt webbing to help extract car accident casualty if needed. It also cuts thin cordage and tape. One of our local companies, gave all its employees a multitool with the knife removed for everyday carry when the law changed. You could remove the knife blade from a cheap multitool with a bench grinder, or re-engineer it to a different tool. It is illegal to carry anything intended as a weapon as far as I am aware. Although, I remember a policewoman showing my sister how to use her car keys to discourage an attacker, but maybe that was somewhat in the past.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in The Briefing Room - Tactical Gear Blog

Gordon Dedman Equipment for 24 Hour and Multi Day Pack | Tactical Gear Australia
Gordon Dedman Equipment for 24 Hour and Multi Day Pack

June 16, 2021 1 min read

Read More
Money Meets Multi-Tool in the Supercharged TAQ Wallet by Quiqlite
Money Meets Multi-Tool in the Supercharged TAQ Wallet by Quiqlite

October 20, 2020 2 min read

Read More
Blade-Tech the Story Behind the Brand
Blade-Tech the Story Behind the Brand

July 14, 2020 3 min read

Read More